tv Piers Morgan Tonight CNN July 17, 2012 12:00am-1:00am EDT
blood and urine tests. which showed no drugs in her system. kennedy may have had a seizure and said she told police she might have mistakenly taken the sleeping pill ambien. patrick kennedy, co-founder of one mind for research. patrick kennedy, welcome back to the show. let me just start with the sad news. that came about your cousin kerry kennedy. there's been lots of newspaper coverage. when they're involved in this kind of thing. i'm sure you get sick and tired of reading about the curse of the kennedys and so on. what can you tell me about what happened to her? >> women, piers, as you know, something very similar happened to me when i was in congress many years ago. i was arrested for a dwi because i was under the influence of ambien and feneregen because i had an upset stomach.
i was using the ambien to help me with my sleep because i was trying to live without opiotes. when i initially thought i was treating my own addiction through things that i didn't consider to be drugs. this was a prescription, by the way. so i thought, hey, this is all right. i found i got into a lot of trouble. and it wasn't the alcohol or the opiates which i had used previously that got me behind a wheel and driving while intoxicated. it was ambien. so i can't tell you for certain what happened to kerry. i can tell you, in my own circumstance, i was lucky to get mental health treatment for my addiction and depression. and what i'm doing out here, as you speak to me tonight, i'm out in minnesota. the home of paul wellstone. celebrating the paul wellstone mental health parody act.
required mental health and addict services to be treated as other physical illnesses are treated. of course as you know, piers, insurance companies discriminate routinely against these kinds of mental illnesses because, as you pointed out at the beginning your show, there's a sensational quality to this. and of course that is what keeps most americans from really seeking mental health treatment. even though they might need it. it's because it's still ma tized. it's discriminated against. and all i know is i think our country obviously would be much better off if we take a lesson from paul wellstone and that historic bill that pete diminicih co-sponsored, republican and democrat together. acknowledging these illnesses are physical illnesses. no different than any other physical illnesses. and need to be treated in the same regard. >> i think it's an excellent
campaign. i congratulate you on the work you've done with it. return to kerry briefly. have you managed to speak with her at all? >> i was with kerry last week. we celebrated my cousin, matt's, wedding, himself a week just prior to mine. we were all down as a family on the cape. she is an amazing woman. i -- i don't personally see her as suffering from the same irish flu so to speak that i suffer from. i think this was an out of character-type incident. and i understand she's done all the necessary disclosures. and gotten the necessary tests and the like. and that it's probably a prescription medication or it's a seizure disorder of some sort. and so i know as a society we sensationalize these issues because it does involve a motor vehicle accident.
and when it does, these things obviously become very sensationalized. i think, hopefully, at the end of the day, just as in my colleague's jesse jackson circumstance, we don't end up continuing to perpetuate the stigma around anything that is kind of behavioral because we misunderstand that the brain is part of the broad and that these behaviors that often lead to sleepy driving or dwis or any other kinds of behavior, that justy didn't feel comfortable talking about, are all things that i think all of us in our lives deal with to some degree or another. either in our own lives or in our family's life. and i think it's important as a society we begin to talk about these things and actually treat them as the physical illnesses that they are. >> two months ago, your cousin in law, mary richardson kenny, committed suicide, following a long struggle with depression. and a messy divorce from kerry's brother, bobby jr.
would you categorize what she went through as the kind of thing that you were talking about in terms of people who get stigma titzed and sensationalized? >> well, listen, piers, if she had been suffering from cancer, or diabetes or some other acceptable illness, she wouldn't have had any problem getting the necessary help. because she wouldn't have felt bad about herself. in getting mental health care. but unfortunately, in our country, we stigmatize mental health care. we treat it as a prejortive. we even call it mental health care as opposed to health care. in a sense, we segregate it. as you know from 50 years ago in the battles for civil rights, who wanted to drink from the colored water fountain? who wanted to go to be treated differently? mental health today is in a similar circumstance. where people are segregated. and what that ends up doing is adding insult to injury.
if you have a depression, like mary had, if you're battling, you have the added insult of a society that doesn't accept this as a legitimate illness. and, therefore, you feel shamed ofns the depression. as you know, piers, not only did my cousin mary suffer from this, but our returning veterans, many of whom are resorting to suicide as the only way out. it's just unacceptable, piers. we need to come up with a different attitude towards these mental illnesses so that we don't make people feel when they're trying to get help that they're -- it's unacceptable to get that help. >> tell me, patrick, i mean, you are a member of the kennedy dynasty. often described as america's royal family. whenever any member of the family gets involved in any kind of incident, it's always splattered across the papers. it's discussed on television shows. et cetera, et cetera.
how much of a pressure does the family feel about that kind of thing? >> well, pierce, like i said in my own circumstance, i was very fortunate. my constituents in rhode island knew me. they knew i had challenges. but they also knew that i worked hard and i cared. and i got re-elected. after the arrest and the dwi. but i got re-elected because i talked about it. i spoke openly about it. because i knew that that's what my constituents wanted. and that's what they were anxious to hear. and, in fact, many of them started talking to me about their own sets of challenges that they felt ashamed about. and in a sense, piers, you know, even though i grew up in a very different way from many of my constituents, they related to my experience of fighting not only a mental illness but the stigma that comes with that mental illness. and i think, pierce, the greatest solution is that we need to open up the dialogue. we can't stigmatize these illnesses anymore.
and i think not only in my own family's case, which is just another family out there struggling, this is a common struggle. there's not a family in america that doesn't have a child with autism, a parent with alzheimer's. a brother or sister with depression, addiction. you know, these are all illnesses that affect our behavior. and then we can't reject our family members because they act strange. and of course we do because we call them crazy. nuts. psycho. these are all the prejortive terms we use to describe people who are suffering from a mental illness. and who would want to be acknowledged as having suffered from a mental illness if they're called those words? we need to change the dialogue and open up our arms and our hearts to all around us. because as i said, piers, it's every single family in america. >> well, patrick, i've interviewed you twice now in the last few weeks. you speak with great candor, great passion. great intelligence.
and i really admire what you're doing here. and i think, you know, you speak from your family's experiences but also, as you say, this is something that touches almost every family in america. in some way. and it has to be taken more seriously. and i do wish you all the best of luck with your campaign. i thank you for coming back on the show. >> thank you, piers. >> coming up next, the latest on the trayvon martin case. explosive development that nobody saw coming. george zimman's attorney fires back at shocking accusations against his client. ♪
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shocking new developments in the trayvon martin case today. witness number nine charges that george zimmerman started when they were both children and continued till they were teenagers. none of these charges will be admissible in trial. contending it's not relevant to the issues of the case. so what will all this mean in court, if anything? joining me now exclusively is george zimmerman's attorney mar o'meara. these are potentially damaging allegations. what can you tell me about them? >> on the face of it, you're right, they seem damaging. of course as you mentioned my frustration is they're absolutely not relevant to anything that is at hand in the true case. they're not admissible. not going to get it into a courtroom. nor will they get before a judge in any way. the frustration i have is these allegations which george contends are untrue. now we need to spend our resources and time rebutting them.
and actually to put it in a difficult if not delicate position of deciding how much we attack the source of these -- this story, or just leave it be and move on to what really counts. >> the woman is now in her 20s, from orlando. she is described in various newspaper reports as somebody whose parents were close to the zimmerman family. do you know if she is actually a relative or not? >> according to the court's order, allowing for the release of her statement, i'm allowed to state the relationship. and we state it as what it is. which is he is a cousin to this woman. >> so it's his cousin. and she says that over a period of a number of years george would molest and grope her when she went to the zimmerman family home. it's actually on audio. this has been released too today. let's listen to what she says in her own words. >> it started when i was 6. he's about -- almost two years
older than i am. he would reach under the blankets and try to do things and i would try to push him off but he was bigger and stronger and older and -- it was in front of everybody. and i don't know how i didn't say anything but i just didn't know any better. >> clearly very emotnal testimony there from this woman on this recording. it's hard to work out who her motivation is. do you have any suspicions yourself as to why she came forward and said this now? >> there actually were some other events that happened in the family dynamics that we will get into if we need to. i will remind you, piers, as i'm sure you're aware of, her first statement was the day before. she called anonymously. and said the whole zimmerman family were a bunch of racists. that all them were racists. and that george was. though she could not come up
with any indications hoff examples of how he was it the fbi who seemingly has completed their report has said the exact opposite. that george is not a racist. and even with their intense looking into him, they cannot come up with one example of it. so i would suggest that maybe her first statement suggests racism questions her credibility. the next day she makes up allegations about sexual abuse. also seemingly don't have any corroboration to them. >> she is also on the audiotape talking about the racism claim. she doesn't make it specifically about george so much as his family. let's listen to this. >> i was afraid that he may have done something because the kid was black. because growing up they always made -- him and his family have always made statements that they don't like black people, if they don't act like white people. >> on that specific point, could that be admissible? a family member alleging racism
from george's family? >> i think that if they could tie that to an event of george's and if, in fact, they had some other evidence supporting a suggestion of racism. we know this case began with the suggestion that george profiled trayvon because he was a black male. it seems the state has left that behind. or the trayvon martin family representative left that behind. but if they were going back there, then potentially that part could be relevant. nothing about the sexual abuse allegations but that one issue, it might be. >> there's been a fairly extraordinary response i think from trayvon martin's family by their attorney benjamin krump which says as follows. witness number nine would be a rebuttal witness, very similar to that in sandusky trial, showing that george zimmerman has a history of violence and manipulation. zimmerman's mentality is very relevant to this trial. because it seemed pretty
gratuitous to lump in the name sandusky into all this. because everybody obviously associates him and that name with serious child abuse. >> well, you know, mr. krump has said in the past my client was an racist murderer. he has said then my client shouldn't have gotten out of the car. he feels as though he needs to say these things to represent the mart family and that has a benefit to his position, he has the right i guess to say that. this is a charges of second degree murder case. the question is did george zimmerman act in appropriate self-defense. we know he has the broken nose and the head. i think if we focus on those objective facts all they periphery, which, again, will
never make it into a courtroom, needs to be left just there, on the periphery. >> you tried to have judge lester removed. i presume after this huge dump of stuff today. that feeling has been reinforced, is it? >> well, actually, i had asked the state. we filed a motion this morning asking the state not to release the information and here's the reason. if judge lester grants it, i certainly think he should based on the rule. if he grants it, then all of his recent rulings, including the decision to release witness nine's statements, would be subject to review or reconsideration. so we had asked the state this morning to just delay since there was no rush to do this, delay till we had an opportunity for the subsequent judge to review it. they decided not to. >> mark o'mara, as always, thank you very much for coming on the show. we appreciate you giving us the first response it it's certainly a fascinating twist in what has
been a fascinating saga. thank you. >> great to be here, piers >> cnn spoke to the father of the witness on the line and he says no one from the family will be speaking to the media about the allegations. next, a winning or losing strategy. we built the first railway, the first trade route to the west, the greatest empires. then, some said, we lost our edge. well today, there's a new new york state. one that's working to attract businesses and create jobs. a place where innovation meets determination... and businesses lead the world. the new new york works for business. find out how it can work for yours at thenewny.com. wouldn't it be nice if there was an easier, less-expensive option than using a traditional lawyer? well, legalzoom came up with a better way. we took the best of the old and combined it with modern technology. together you get quality services on your terms, with total customer support.
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people accuse you of a crime, you have every reason to go after them pretty hard. i'm going to continue going after him. i'm very proud of the record i had in my business career. helping turn around the olympics. and as the governor of the state of massachusetts. but what does it say about a president whose record is so poor that all he can do in his campaign is attack me? >> mitt romney on fox taking exception to the way president obama's campaign has characterized his role at bain capital. is this an issue that will get him traction with voters? here now are our other big story is president obama's former chief of staff william daley. a lot of heat stoked up by the democrats about apparent criminal mitt romney hiding all sorts of dark secret from us. clearly deliberate campaign to smear him. is it valid?
>> i would disagree with you, piers, on that comment to smear. nobody has said he committed a felony it the question is, as you know, you've reported, there is a disagreement about some -- his statement, whether he was in charge of bain, whether he was running bain, whether he was therefore responsible. has done nothing wrong in his tenure as bain. filed certain documents that said he was ceo at the time. so either you take credit and responsibility for that period or you weren't running it. so just explain what happened here. either there was a mistake. it wasn't true. you weren't running the company. or if you were running the company, then take credit or responsibility for what happened during your watch, the way governor romney has spoken about his tenure and his pride in being a business person. then talk about what happened in your company during that period. there's no allegation that anything wrong happened during
that. so talk about it. and be responsible for it. and done run away from it. >> what is clear is that president obama and his team had decided that mitt romney's number one vulnerability is his record at bain capital. at the same time, mitt romney is trying to turn this into his number one strength. in other words, ran a very successful company. i created thousands and thousands of jobs. i made a lot of money. i'm a proud american. what's wrong with that? it comes down to whether the american public are going to agree with your guy, who says that romney was a job wrecker, you know, buying companies, destroying them, fleecing them, making money. or whether they believe mitt romney. why do you think it's this issue that president obama feels so strongly is the key one? >> well, look it, governor romney from the very beginning has said i have the credibility to be president because i ran a business. that's been basically the sum
and substance of his argument as to why at this difficult time economically he should be put in by the american people as president. as though being ceo of a company is somehow a qualification and sets you apart from other people to be president. the truth is, having spent a year as chief of staff, this analogy of the president to a ceo or because someone's been a ceo, therefore, that's a great qualification to be president, is ridiculous. >> yeah, but hang on, hang on -- >> presidents in our -- great presidents in our history who have been ceos of companies, it doesn't -- >> let me jump in. you may say it's ridiculous. it doesn't necessarily mean it makes him unfit to be president. many people would say right now what america needs, $16 trillion in debt, all the mess that it has, the one thing america needs more than anything right now is probably a president who does have a good business brain. so i can see this argument
playing out either well or badly for the president. because the american people may go yeah, actually, i buy into this. i can accept a president who's a successful businessman. >> they may. they may. you're right. that's obviously the governor's argument from the very beginning. and, therefore, if it is about his business career, and that which he did in his business, then why is everything about that business and his tenure as ceo not fair game for the american people to fully understand? and he standing up and going through the successes in that business? and there's been no -- and the president has been clear in saying there's nothing wrong with privateequity. but to some degree, the romney campaign and the governor himself have kind of wanted it both ways. we want to get credit for being a successful ceo. and that's a great thing to celebrate. but we don't want to really get into the detail, of that,
because there may be parts of that that may have been very good for our investors in the private equity, which is what his responsibility was. but may not convey to the american people exactly his thinking about how and what about this economy as we go forward. and the one thing about this election that in the end the american people will decide about is who best to lead the next four years. not what happened necessarily in the last three years or what governor romney did 15, 20 years ago in his business career. it is about the next four years and how we get out of this. >> let's be realistic. actually, that's not how it worked in elections. people don't vote thinking i wonder what's going to happen in the next four years. >> i disagree with you, piers. >> people normally vote in elections based on how they think the incumbent president has performed in the previous four years. they judge him on his performance, don't they? >> and what that means for the
next four years. because that's really what they're voting for. the next four years. no doubt about it, the president's record of the last three years, 3 1/2 years, is obviously fair game by his opponent and fair game for him to point to and point to the difficulties of the last 3 1/2 years and what has happened successfully nowhere near as successful as this president wants. but you're right, but in the end, the american people will look at his record and what that means for the next four years as they will look at governor romney's record both in the private sector and in his career as four years as governor of massachusetts and what that may mean for his leadership the next four years. >> let's turn to a group you're involved with. a nonpartisan group called no labels. congress and the presidency became more effective. some of them stood out to me. one of which reminded me of my own british parliament which of course has these infamous scenes, prime ministers questioned, where all the
members of parliament can bray blood and ask questions of the prime minister. exposed to questions of members of congress. i rather like that idea. it certainly makes the president personally more accountable visually and it also i think is an interesting way of making politics come alive for many people in the electorate. >> don't doubt there's risk to it and there's some constitutional question some would say the president shouldn't expose himself to the congress in that sort of way. obviously a parliamentary system much different. but the other recommends in addition to that one would be ways to streamline to give the president more authority, to go to congress with twice a year specific legislation that would be co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of democrats and republicans, and have what's called a fast track process to get that legislation voted on up or down so we can avoid some of these long committee -- terribly
long processes that congos through. and makes trying to deal with immediate problems almost impossible. congress, both the senate and the house, have become almost incapable of truly acting in a bipartisan way. we have some very serious problems over the next couple of years that our system has got to prove can deal with or else the american people will continue this throwing everybody out whenever they get the chance. >> yeah, well, i hardly endorse the sentiment there because it is getting ridiculous and the american public are fed up with it. bill daley, thank you. is mitt romney about to change the conversation by announcing his pick for vice president? i'm ask a man who knows his way around politics, curt anderson.
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>> we were just discussing before we went on the air. the heist tear call ad. using a very interesting backdrop. let's watch this. ♪ for amber waves of grain ♪ for purple mountains majesty ♪ above the fruited plain ♪ america ♪ america ♪ god shed his grace on thee ♪ and crown thy good >> first off, that is a great ad. it's very funny. makes a sharp point. gets to the quality rising above. what do you make of the wider point being made there? >> there's certainly a point to
be made. a man who takes advantage of these things to reduce his income tax. >> do americans care? in britain, in britain i think he'd have problems. there's a lot of envy in britain to that kind of thing. a lot of resentment to that kind of thing. much more than i detected since i've lived and worked in america. i wonder how many americans, though, don't really edge more towards romney saying i was a very successful business man. i'm not apologiing for it. >> that's all good. except for when you're running for president. when you're running for president, you're a vessel for all kinds of symbolic things and playing fair has to be one of them. imagine if the roles were reversed. i mean, i'm glad i'm not a political consultant professionally because then you'd have to engage in this kind thing but it's completely fair game. as you say, that was a genius
piece of admaking. >> again, i can't -- the reason i say this, there's a poll, come out today, 20% of americans apparently, only 20%, know which of the two candidates, obama or romney, wants to raise taxes on people with incomes over $250,000. despite this being a huge debate in the last few weeks haven't got a clue which one of them wants to tax the rich. >> the election hasn't started yet. give till labor day. then they'll know. >> you can see what president obama believes fundamentally if he keeps hammering mitt romney for his person wealth, his record at bain, the way he appears to have been pretty sharp with his taxation. he thinks this will resonate with an america that is tens of millions of people unemployed, people have lost their homes, people are suffering. they're going to think, i'm going to vote for obama. >> and that's the best shot he has.
i mean, american, as you say, compared to, say, britains, don't have a problem with rich people. it's a certain kind of what are you hiding there rich person. and as mike huckle buy so famously said, a guy who looks like the guy who just fired you. as opposed to a jolly witchrich person. >> the bain record, i think is an arguably point either way. >> correct. >> destroy jobs or they create them. the truthful answer is they tend to do a bit of both. >> and that's capitalism. it is creative destruction. again, it's a hard piece of baggage to have if you're running for president. >> isn't it harder what may be lurking in his tax returns? because there's going to be a reason why a guy whose father ran for office and released 12 years of his own returns, that he himself, when he runs, the son, has only released a year and a half. he doesn't want something to come out. what could it be?
>> it's bizarre to me. hasn't gotten that in order. didn't know this would be an ousing sore, as the campaign began? now when it comes out, let's say it just shows the many tens of millions of dollars he made. it will look bad just because he delayed it. >> the fascinating part of it is john mccain saw the returns. when he had him vetted to be a potential bp for him. he knows. he's not saying anything. mitt romney's not saying anything. it seemses to me very, very unlikely that he won't have to reveal more. there's now a sense in washington and getting out into the wider mainstream he's hiding something. >> it's very strange. as you say, if it's simply a matter of appearances or foreign offshore accounts and stuff, you think he would just bite the bullet and say, okay, here it
is. you know i'm rich. here are the details. i can't -- as you say, it makings no sense not to come clean now if they're not hiding something. i'm still of the belief he's not hiding anything illegal. >> if he isn't, my advice, get it all out there. crisis management. get it all out there, take the hit and move on. let's move on, ourselves, to the vp race. "the new york times" is suggesting it could be as near as this week that mitt romney announces his vp. two names that have come up this week. one condoleezza rice. although actually not as mad as it may seem when you actually look at it i don't think. tim pawlenty who i always thought was a bit a dark horse for the job. what do you think of those two candidates? is there a better one out there for him? >> i think probably the joyce for vice president for mitt romney or any candidate is do no harm. vice presidents very rarely -- vice presidential nominees win
an election for you. certainly tim pawlenty is, you know, there's a reason his election -- his own run for presidency got no traction. he's kind of a boring guy. perfectly reasonable, fine human being and all that. >> would he be a sensible pick? >> he'd be a sensible pick because, again, no one would notice or care. condoleezza rice, people would notice and care. my understanding in the republican party her position makes her a nonstarter. >> fascinating choice. great new book out. "true believers." give yourself a quick plug. >> i'll give myself a long plug. it is a novel set -- political thriller and mystery set in both the present day and in the 1960s. it's the fictional memoir of the hillary clinton-esque woman. appeared on your show no doubt talking about the constitution. she's revealing from the late '60s. >> pleasure. coming up, now you'll see this.
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nobody ever really knew where bonny was. she had 15 i.d. cards. she had 15 credit cards. she had different places where she lived. and nobody could ever find her. if they were looking for her. but one day somebody opened a paper and said bonny just married robert blake. where does robert blake live? and what? couple of weeks later, she was dead. >> clip from my now infamous interview with robert blake last week. things got heated when the subject turned to the death of his wife bonny lee bakley. when you saw the interview, what did you think? >> a lot. it was unexpected. i think the torment of killing bonny was more difficult than he expected.
it was difficult for me as a lawyer to watch. >> you have no doubt he killed bonny? >> he did kill bonny. >> why are you so certain? he got off the criminal case. >> yeah. but for celebrity justice, he would be in prison, and that makes me question why he's so angry. he's lucky not to be in prison. the nutshell was the baby. robert blake kidnapped the baby. he agreed to marry her if she dropped the kidnapping charges she filed. he contacted four hitmen to kill her. and the night of the murder he ran out of time, bonny wanted the baby back and he had to kill her. >> i had his lawyer for part of that period who was equally adamant that he didn't kill her. actually, bonny had this string
of men, he was her tenth husband, she would be on the run, a conartist, all this kind of stuff which could easily lend itself to the theory as he put to me on the show, robert blake that it was one these disgruntled people she turned other in her past, who read about marrying a famous actor and came looking for her. how can you be sure that theory isn't the true one? >> it's not accurate. he married her about nine months before she moved to california. and when she moved to california, nobody knew, it wasn't reported anywhere, she had been about three or four days before he killed her. nobody knew she was in california. before that, she was in arkansas raising her three kids. for the last 11 months she didn't move. can i assure everybody the lapd put their top men in this case. it was the biggest investigation in lapd history. they got the right guy, and celebrity justice is why he's free, and she you be lucky to be
walking the streets right now. >> what's happened to his daughter? >> in a nutshell, that was the motive. he kidnapped the baby and gave the baby to his adult daughter where she remains today. when bonny demanded the baby back he had a choice to make. he tried to get the hitmen to do it for him, couldn't he did it himself. >> i understand when you were watching the interview, you were in contact with bonny's two daughters. what was their reaction. sad? why are they still beating up my mom after ten years. this was a real woman, a mother of four. i'm not going to tell you she didn't do some crazy things with her business. she loved those kids. i can give you 30 million reasons why she didn't deserve to die. the whole defense that she had it coming, somebody else did it. i don't care how many times she
was married, she did not deserve to get shot in the head. >> what were the daughters reaction to him during the interview, the way he was behaving some crazy way of behaving? what did they make that? >> i think like the rest america, started light, there are even some jokes, why is he dressing like woody from toy story even? when it came down to bashing the mom and these crazy theorys and playing the victim it became difficult for them, and it was the most significant thing in those kids lives. to hear that come out of his mouth was very hard. and tom mesereau is very talented. i understand the arguments made, i can point out all the things they didn't have, but the only reason he is free is celebrity justice, and he has no reason to be so angry. >> he wants to make a comeback in the movies, do you think he should be allowed to? >> i have no opinion on that whatsoever.
tonight's only in america, back to my extraordinary interview with robert blake. there have been many questions since the interview aired. >> it's not about me, is it? >> yes, it is, because you opened the door, charlie potatoes, and you can take that to the bank. go ahead, charlie, keep dancing. >> i sort of assumed it was a less than complimentary phrase and i did a little research. he also called me mr. research. it turns out that charlie potatoes is a fantastically positive accolade. you can hear it here in the 1958 film, a character played by tony curtis fanta sizes about a time when he'll be rich and popular. >> all that talk about johnny potatoes when the chains are off and nobody's chasing you.
>> i think it's obvious why robert blake called me charlie potatoes i couldn't be happier. i'll change the name of the show to charlie poe pay toes tonight. that's all for us. we begin tonight keeping them honest on the campaign trail. attack ads are flying and so's the spin. presumptive republican presidential nominee mitt romney today demanded president obama back off his attacks on romney's record at bain capital. the attacks focused on whether romney actually left the firm. the obama camp claims romney lied about his end date at bain. even suggesting his actions could be criminal. in a series of interviews on friday, romney accused of obama campaign of stooping to new lows. in an interview that aired today on cbs this morning, president obama was asked about the negative ads his campaign was running.
here's what he said. >> first of all, we've done a whole slew of positive ads that talked exactly about how we need to change our education system, how we need to change our tax code, how we need to rebuild america. how we need to promote american energy. so those just don't get attention in the news. >> the president said they've run a whole slew of ads, positive ads. we wanted to -- we wanted to check and see if maybe we'd overlooked a slew of ads either candidate was running. keeping them honest. we checked with c-mag, the consultants who track ad spending for us. they told us last week the obama campaign aired negative ads more than 19,000 times and positive ads fewer than 150 times. less than 1% of their ads were positive. according to other reports, since the general campaign began, as many as 3 in 4 of president obama's campaign ads have been negative. 3 in 4. to be sure, both campaigns are playing hard ball.